Brilliant, but Distant: Most Far-Flung Known Quasar Offers Glimpse into Early Universe

– When I read this, I promptly sent off an E-Mail to some friends with whom I often discuss such things.   To wit:

I suspect that our scientific stories about the early universe may be flawed.

Here, at very nearly the beginning of the universe not long after the Big Bang, we have a massive black hole in existence gobbling up copious amounts of matter.

That seems odd to me when the official story line is that the Big Bang created an early universe which was near flat in its density distributions and the only exceptions to this were very small ripples that were caused by quantum fluctuations.  Fluctuations that we can still (barely) see in the cosmic background radiation that still exists today.

Supposedly, these small quantum ripples, over time, created gradients sufficient to begin to pull gas and then stars together and then stars into galaxies.  Eventually, given this continuing aggregation, black holes would have arisen.

So how, in the this official scenario, does such a massive back hole arise at such an early time?

– dennis

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A gargantuan black hole has been spotted voraciously devouring material just 770 million years after the big bang

Peering far across space and time, astronomers have located a luminous beacon aglow when the universe was still in its infancy. That beacon, a bright astrophysical object known as a quasar, shines with the luminosity of 63 trillion suns as gas falling into a supermassive black holes compresses, heats up and radiates brightly. It is farther from Earth than any other known quasar—so distant that its light, emitted 13 billion years ago, is only now reaching Earth. Because of its extreme luminosity and record-setting distance, the quasar offers a unique opportunity to study the conditions of the universe as it underwent an important transition early in cosmic history.

By the time the universe was one billion years old, the once-neutral hydrogen gas atoms in between galaxies had been almost completely stripped of their electrons (ionized) by the glow of the first massive stars. But the full timeline of that process, known as re-ionization because it separated protons and electrons, as they had been in the first 380,000 years post–big bang, is somewhat uncertain. Quasars, with their tremendous intrinsic brightness, should make for excellent markers of the re-ionization process, acting as flashlights to illuminate the intergalactic medium. But quasar hunters working with optical telescopes had only been able to see back as far as 870 million years after the big bang, when the intergalactic medium’s transition from neutral to ionized was almost complete. (The universe is now 13.75 billion years old.) Beyond that point, a quasar’s light has been so stretched, or redshifted, by cosmic expansion that it no longer falls in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum but rather in the longer-wavelength infrared.

– More…

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